How to not FAIL the Software Development Interview
HOW TO NOT FAILTHE SOFTWARE INTERVIEW
The First Call Almost always a Recruiter / HR Person Ask for the Job Description Tailor your answers to the bullet points Give them the Keywords they are looking for. Don’t drown in the details. Play up non-development skills, personality, communication, teamwork, and leadership. Highlight Past / Present Accomplishments Have a good answer as to why you are looking. Be prepared to talk MONEY!!!
Recon Study the Job Description Highlight technologies you are experienced with. Highlight technologies / acronyms you are not familiar with. Go get basic definitions of all of them. Print them… Study the Company Read about the companies core competency What do they do. Try to put yourself in their developers shoes. Read other job descriptions on their website. Look for technologies and processes (i.e. Silverlight & Scrum) Look for identifiers of problems “Fast paced” / “challenging environment”, “good people skills a must”, “certification “XYZ” required.
The TECHNICAL CALL Will follow shortly after the recruitment call. Within 5 to 10 days; if longer they are probably not all that serious or they have other candidates. Resume Driven / Job Description Driven Be ready to give an overview of your experience / resume. Have a highlighted copy of the job description in hand. Be prepared to answer questions that match your resume to the job description. Focus on you highlighted positive skills. Don’t act like you know everything, unless you do, be realistic. NO CODE – But expect high level concept questions.
The In-Person Interview - HR Possible HR Section Relax – Focus on non-development skills, personality, communication, teamwork, and leadership. Unless you really screw up this person has no decision making in your hiring. Forms and Formalities Personality Tests, IQ Tests, Background Checks, Credit Checks, Drug Tests. Be prepared with paperwork. ID, Social Security Card, Previous Paystub or W2, List of references
The In-Person Interview - Technical Usually More Fit than Function Meet the team, they will be the ones who decide. Remember they are more scared of you then you are of them. They don’t want it to be awkward, so they will help. Focus on what you can do for them. Will start off with the same things as the Technical Call: Review your Resume, Take about the Job Description, Discuss the Company. Will progress into usually predefined list of questions. Get the answers online before you go. (Developers are LAZY even more so when they interview.) It could end here, they will stare at each other and ask if there is anything else to ask. OR it won’t!!!! – The Test.
THE TEST - LOGIC Personality / Logic Test Hardly ever done well, someone looked it up online. Why are manholes round, light switches and such. They just want to see your thought process. How to Not FAIL Research the questions online Even if you know the answer don’t answer right away walk it through. If they ask you something you don’t know just work through it for a maximum of 2 – 3 minutes talk it out.
The Test – BAD TESTS The CODE Test – BAD VERSION These guys are just trying to make it as hard as possible. There is a reason and it is not a good thing. Do your best – but rethink wanting to work there. Here is some generic code find the bug. Please write the pseudo-code to sort a linked list. Please write us a memory optimizer. Study Code Tests Online Before you Go The CODE Test – WORSE VERSION Thanks for coming in oh and BTW we need you to take this online test. You know D# right?
The Test – GOOD Tests The CODE Test – GOOD VERSION These guys want you to wow them a bit, but they don’t want you to fail either. Here is a laptop with internet access. Please give us a program that does A, B, C. Using these Technologies. We will give you 1 hour to do it, see you in a bit. How to not FAIL Hello Worlds on technology you don’t know before you go. Post your pre-code online to reference, pull down if you can. If your completely lost look for code examples online.
Closing the Technical InterviewThe Biggest Question in the Interview! Do you have any questions for us? YES Always Have a List. This could be the longest portion of the interview. Ask Questions That Highlight You As An Answer… What technologies are you looking at for the future? How do you see the future of your team and your Product Roadmap? How does this position fit in that vision? What challenges do you see on a day to day basis? How can this new position help with those challenges?
INTERVIEW with the BIG BOSS If you make it here your probably in. This is a sanity check to make sure the team is not crazy. Focus on your future, goals, aspirations, but stay a bit grounded. Talk about your past successes, and accomplishments, focus on results. Where do you see yourself in 5 years. Don’t tell him you want his job…
THE Aftermath The Thank You Email. Don’t be a Stalker. If they gave you a business card use it. The Recruiter is your conduit, don’t ask questions about the future to anyone else? What are the next steps? Ask the Recruiter.